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Dr. Carey Heller is a licensed psychologist and founding partner with The Heller Psychology Group LLC, which is a small private practice located in Bethesda, Maryland near Montgomery Mall. He specializes in working with children, adolescents, and their families. Dr. Heller conducts play, individual, and family psychotherapy for a variety... Read more

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Setting Up the Optimal Homework Completion Environment

Dr. Carey Heller; Clinical Psychologist Bethesda Maryland

Dr. Carey Heller; Clinical Psychologist Bethesda Maryland

As an adult, you probably have your office, whether it be a home office or one at your job, setup in a manner conducive to how you work best. Thus, you might have your computer in the middle of the desk, a docking station with extra screen, ample room to lay out papers on the left or right side, a whiteboard to keep track of tasks, and a shelf to keep books and files easily accessible.

For children and teens, having an optimal homework completion environment setup is helpful in enabling them to be as focused as possible and successful with completing homework, projects, as well as studying for exams. While it is important to honor their preferences to some degree as feasible, here are some general suggestions for helping your child or teen create an optimal homework work space:

  1. Create a separate room or section of a room that your child or teen can use to complete homework in, but not use for other activities. This will help train them to focus better because they know when in that area, they have to do their schoolwork.
  2. Encourage them to sit at a desk for most tasks that involve using a computer or handwriting. However, many children and teens dread sitting at a desk because it is less comfortable than sitting on the floor or in bed. Therefore, help them find a comfortable chair to sit in. If needed, a child or teen could use a comfortable reclining chair provided that it is high enough to reach the desk and will sit straight enough up for them to focus.
  3. Give them some freedom in terms of when they complete their homework. For some children/teens, they do best with a brief break (up to 30 minutes) when they first come home before starting their homework. Others do best working in the morning before school if they can get up early enough. Let them try doing homework at the time that they prefer, but monitor it and if it does not go well, use that to illiustrate the necessity of doing homework earlier in the day or at a different time.

I hope these ideas are helpful in getting you thinking about how to help your child/teen develop their optimal homework completion environment and routine.

Copyright 2016 Carey A. Heller, Psy.D.

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Carey Heller, Psy.D.

About Carey Heller, Psy.D.

Dr. Carey Heller is the author of the blog Practical Parenting Strategies. He is a licensed psychologist with The Heller Psychology Group LLC in Bethesda, Maryland. Dr. Heller specializes in the evaluation and treatment of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), executive function challenges, learning disabilities, and co-occurring issues such as anxiety. With treatment, he often blends traditional psychotherapy with practical coaching to help individuals improve time management, organizational, and related study skills as relevant.


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